Frequent cell phone use contributes to anxiety, poor grades

By Laura Mize • Published: March 24th, 2014
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

If you aren’t sure how you functioned before cell phones, consider this: A new study shows the devices may actually contribute to anxiety and lower life satisfaction.

The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, surveyed more than 500 public university students about general phone use, texting, anxiety and overall happiness with life. To measure academic performance, the researchers also checked the students’ grade point averages. The survey results showed those who used cell phones the most had higher anxiety levels and worse grades than their peers. They also tended to be less satisfied with life.

Based on their previous research on the topic, the scientists suggested cell phones may increase anxiety partly because people feel they can never escape constant contact with others. Some people indicated they felt obligated to respond when someone tried to reach them.

The scientists said academic performance may suffer when cell phones distract students during class or study time. It isn’t a big leap to think that job performance or social interaction also could decline.

Perhaps you’re personally familiar with the downsides of cell phones. These rules of etiquette from manners maven Emily Post can help you regain control. Post emphasizes that it’s important to focus on what you’re doing and the people you’re with by turning off your phone if it may interrupt a person or event. When you are with others and keeping the phone on is a necessity, put it in silent mode. Walk away from the group if you must take a call.

Next, she says some places are off limits for phone calls: churches, libraries, restaurant tables and theaters. Post also advises readers not to text in work meetings or classes.

Sound tough? Try following these rules for two weeks. Who knows … you may enjoy your increased freedom.